Finnish defenceman Martti Jarventie bagged two goals within as many minutes to steer MK Lightning to a 3-1 victory at Hull Pirates on Sunday – their third success against the Humberside outfit this season.
Jarventie who joined Lightning three weeks ago registered his first goal for the team when he was set up by fellow countryman Markku Tahtinen on 9mins 26secs.
Seconds later Hull’s Josh Gent was sin binned for hooking, putting Lightning on a powerplay from which Tahtinen was again the playmaker for Jarventie to beat Hull’s new netminder, Martins Raitums, for a second time at 10mins 53secs.
The win helped banish the disappointment of the previous evening’s 2-1 home defeat after penalties against Swindon Wildcats – a game in which former Great Britain netminder Stevie Lyle stood on his head to deny the hosts on 45 out of 46 shots.
Lyle was rightly awarded his team’s man of the match while MK goalie Dean Skinns was also outstanding – even though he faced far fewer shots and conceded two goals in the shootout.
On Sunday he was less busy with Pete Russell’s men heavily outshooting their opponents in two out of the three periods - Raitums turning away 53 of 56 attempts on goal.
Hull who have occupied the bottom spot in the English Premier League all season were given a glimmer of hope when they reduced the deficit on a powerplay resulting from an interference penalty on Frankie Bakrlik in the 26th minute. The goal came from Nathan Salem who joined Pirates last week from last year’s league champions, Telford Tigers.
But it was as good as it got for the hosts who could make nothing of the next two second period powerplays when Bakrlik returned to the sin bin for charging and then Leigh Jamieson was given an extra two minutes for roughing after his clash with Pirates player coach Dominic Osman.
Any hope Pirates had of retrieving the game went when Tahtinen was the provider for Lightning defenceman, Michael Farn, to fire home after 50mins 44secs to make it 3-1.
With 1min 10secs remaining Hull called a timeout and withdrew Raitums in favour of the extra skater but it was to no avail – Lightning remaining solid at the back to take the two points to add to the one that they earned in the Swindon shootout.
Wildcats fans acknowledged that they were lucky, one commenting: “I’ve no idea how Lightning lost that game.”
The answer was Lyle with Lightning playing probably their most complete game of the season – dominating large parts of it.
Swindon took the lead on 7mins 34secs in slightly lucky circumstances – Jonas Hoog made the pass to Aaron Nell whose effort went wide of target and rebounded off the boards behind the goal for Tomasz Malasinski to find a gap to the right of Skinns.
The lead did not last long as Lightning responded with captain Adam Carr feeding Grant McPherson whose quick draw shot rocketed into the back of the net at 8mins 59secs.
The breathless pace continued throughout. When Wildcats’ Adam Harding was penalised for trying to rough up Jordan Cownie midway through the first period the hosts hardly got a shot on the powerplay.
But they did far better when Neil Liddiard was caught holding Bakrlik at 14mins 43secs - Jamieson having his attempt blocked before Jarventie tried to set up Bakrlik - his shot going past the post. Bakrlik then hit the pipework before the powerplay expired.
In the second session James Griffin’s effort hitting the pipework in the first two minutes, McPherson then testing Lyle before Emersic, Hook, and Cownie combined to put the Swindon goalie under pressure.
Bobby Chamberlain sent Bakrlik away for the next effort on goal - a split second before the young Brit clashed with Matt Selby. Both ended up in the sin bin for four minutes on fighting penalties.
An off the puck incident saw Farn and Carlo Finucci both despatched to the sin bin - the MK man for roughing after being slashed by the Wildcats forward at 36mins 20secs.
Most chances fell to Lightning in the third session – early on Ed Knaggs pushed the puck forward to Bakrlik - only for his shot to be stopped by Lyle.
Lyle also thwarted Tahtinen and then Emersic before Corey McEwen fired at Skinns.
Jarventie then showed great vision feeding Bakrlik but Lyle stood in his way once again.
Cownie broke away and got a shot on goal - saved by Lyle once more. But he got a second chance when he was awarded a penalty shot after Selby was caught throwing his stick at the puck – the Scot unsuccessful with the shot.
With no more score in regulation or overtime a penalty shootout was necessary – Swindon dismaying home fans with two successful conversions to Lightning’s solitary goal.